Even when women are breadwinners, they continue to shoulder bulk of domestic responsibilities

Source: The post is based on the article “Even when women are breadwinners, they continue to shoulder bulk of domestic responsibilities” published in The Indian Express on 16th May 2023.

Syllabus: GS 2 – Issues Associated with Women

Relevance: problems faced by women in managing work and household responsibilities.

News: The article discusses the findings of Women at Work report, published by Deloitte.

What are the findings of the report?

As per the report, only 15 percent of working women split daily tasks equally with their partner. The rest bear the burden of household responsibilities while simultaneously being breadwinners.

As per the report, 53 percent of women have higher levels of stress and mental health issues than their global counterparts.

The report highlights that 42 per cent of women take on the sole responsibility of household tasks along with their job. 

This shows that men never regard household duties as their responsibilities. Instead, they always see household duties as the responsibility of females.

The survey further shows that even when men and women earn equally, it is the women disproportionately responsible for childcare.  

When it comes to childcare, women tend to take more flexible work options to balance both ends while men exclude themselves from such responsibilities.

The survey further founded that 70 percent of women accepted the larger household role, saying their partner is the primary earner.

However, the fact is that women step back and opt-out for promotions, making men the bigger earner by default.

Moreover, men utilize this “stay at home” privilege as a justification for neglecting domestic duties because society as a whole supports it as a “strictly” maternal domain.

However, if men want to opt for childcare, there is no support for them from the policy makers as there is no paternity leaves available for new fathers.

This is in contrast to developed societies in the West. For example, Finland allows seven months of leave for employees, male or female.

What can be the way ahead?

Policymakers need to look at paid paternity leave because this will encourage fathers to take part in childcare and become sensitive to the mother’s needs. Otherwise, Indian women will continue to struggle with responsibilities.

Moreover, 91 percent of women are unhappy that their organizations aren’t taking any steps to ensure gender diversity, stop them from quitting or support policy decisions taken by them.

If these headwinds continue, India will lose its competitive edge to representational biases.

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